I think the bottom line, for me anyway, is that we do what works best for our children.
Absolutely Pam! Remember they started out every one of our La Leche League meetings that way..."There are many different ideas shared here in our meetings from co-sleeping to cloth diapers and everything in between. Please take what you can use and leave the rest. We're here to support you in doing what works best for your family." I freely admit there are a lot of families where unschooling would not work.
An online buddy just emailed me this morning. Her son has been working on telling time recently. I don't think she considers herself an unschooler but they do homeschool their son. In working on time through workbooks, he gained an interest in it. She got some additional books at the library on time and yesterday, he went into their yard, all of his own volition, and made a sun clock with sticks, rocks, toys and used a t-ball bat for the middle. I would bet that he understands the concept of time and daylight much better than most kids his age from that freedom in exploring the concept in his own way. WTG M!! :)
Matthew, Rose and I caught an episode of "Don't Forget The Lyrics" a couple weeks ago. We've not watched it since but it made a big impression on us. Mostly because we all love music. As much as we all love listening to music (and I love singing it), it is *very* rare that I hear Matthew actually singing. Rose can make up her own songs and sing to herself for two hours in her room but I can't remember the last time I heard Matthew sing. And Rose makes up her own songs and sings the typical little kid songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and such but I don't hear her singing songs off their favorite CD or movies, etc.
After watching the show, I was talking to Hubby and telling him that a home version of "Don't Forget The Lyrics" would be a really fun party idea. We both enjoy entertaining, though we rarely do it, so finding an idea that appealed to both of us was fun to talk about. Matthew piped up that we should start out with a kids version. When he elaborated, he said we should start with their Veggie Tales Silly Songs CD that's in the van. So the past couple of weeks whenever we go anywhere, we've been playing "Don't Forget The Lyrics, Kid Style" (Matthew's name). I let the music play and at some point, I turn the power off and let the kids sing out what they think the next line of the song is. They can ask for a backup singer (each other or me) and occasionally I can come up with couple different multiple choice lines for them to choose from.
This game has been SO fun for us all. I think I enjoy it more than they do. You have *not* laughed yourself silly until you hear Matthew sing the lyrics, "Sometimes I'm off-key when I sing" or when he sings the line, "And you can't come because you don't speak French"... and to hear Rose pipe up the next segment, "Au revoir!" in that I-know-it-all-better-than-anyone four year old attitude.
So I'm finally getting to hear my kids sing. Aside from fun and silly, it's also been really interesting. They know the lyrics well. They can sing the Pirates of Penzance song, Modern Major General. Veggie Tales commonly takes well-known songs and changes the words around. There's a take-off on Funiculi Funicula called Larry's High Silk Hat that is just hysterical. If you haven't watched it, take the 4 minutes. You probably don't know which song I'm talking about from the title but I guarantee you, you'll recognize it.
Which brings me to the next item...cartoons. On Sunday night, I decided to go all out and make a fajita dinner from scratch. Yes, I made the tortillas, refried beans and everything (short of wringing the chicken's neck). This was quite labor intensive and unfortunately the kids didn't want to help out that night. The girls wanted to watch something on TV so I flipped around and found "Top Cat" was coming on Boomerang. I was just telling Rose a few weeks ago that was my favorite cartoon as a kid, after she had asked me about it. So I turned to it and we ended up watching the channel until bedtime. Since that night, we've watched The Flinstones, Pink Panther, Jetsons, Top Cat, Scooby Doo and Tom and Jerry. What an experience for them! They often ask me about what my life was like as a kid; did I like this food or did I watch that show? It was fun getting to share a few of my TV shows with them. And they love them, which actually surprises me.
Do you know what's missing from todays cartoons? Classical music. They've taken one of the best features of cartoons out. At least Veggie Tales knows how to do it right. ;)